National Rosacea Society Awards New Grants for Medical Research

BARRINGTON, Illinois (January 22, 2015) -- The National Rosacea Society (NRS) announced it has awarded funding for three new studies, in addition to continuing support for two ongoing studies, as part of its research grants program to increase knowledge and understanding of the potential causes and other key aspects of rosacea.

“We are grateful for the thousands of donations from individuals with rosacea that allow us to fund important new studies and continue to support ongoing research that builds upon earlier findings,” said Dr. Mark Dahl, chairman of the NRS Medical Advisory Board, which selects grant applications for funding. “Ongoing research is now advancing a significantly better understanding of the disease process and potential new targets for medical therapy.”

Dr. Anne Chang, assistant professor of dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine, and colleagues were awarded $17,554 to begin to identify rosacea genes using a methodology called a genome-wide association study. A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism. In humans, a copy of the entire genome – more than 3 billion base pairs – is contained in all cells that have a nucleus. If genetic coding specific to rosacea is found, individuals at risk may be identified through a blood test so that early intervention and avoidance of triggers may be possible. This finding may also provide a better basis for further study and future therapy or potential prevention.

Dr. Chang noted that five possible gene locations are linked to genes associated with human inflammatory conditions, including diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis and sarcoidosis. Researchers will evaluate whether there is increased prevalence of these conditions in individuals with rosacea.

Dr. Anna Di Nardo, associate professor of medicine at the University of California-San Diego, and colleagues were awarded $25,000 to study whether there are further indicators that mast cells (MCs) are a dermal translator of inflammatory signals from the epidermis. In this study, Dr. Di Nardo will note whether injection of a nerve blocker into both mice and humans will block the activity of a neuropeptide that activates inflammation in mice, and whether it may reduce redness in people. Results will be assessed by digital photography, clinical grading scales and colorimetry, a device that quantifies and describes color. In addition, they will evaluate whether enzyme levels that are altered in individuals with the inflammation of rosacea are normalized.

Dr. Daniel Popkin, assistant professor of dermatology at Case Western Reserve University, and colleagues were awarded $25,000 to study the facial microbiomes – the unique community of microorganisms that resides in all individuals – of identical twins in whom only one has rosacea. In earlier work, the researchers studied the contribution of genetics versus the environment in identical and fraternal twins. They noted that studying rosacea in identical twins makes it easier to discover how specific factors such as bacteria affect its development without being potentially misled by the many genetic factors that may contribute to it, and this knowledge may lead to more accurate diagnoses and more targeted treatments. 

The NRS also continued to fund studies in 2014 by Dr. Di Nardo on an MC stabilizer and by Drs. Yoshikazu Uchida and Peter Elias at the University of California – San Francisco on a biochemical pathway that may lead to inflammation. 

Researchers interested in applying for grants may obtain forms and instructions through the research grants section of the NRS website, rosacea.org, or by contacting the National Rosacea Society, 196 James Street, Barrington, Illinois 60010, telephone 1-888-662-5874, email rosaceas@aol.com. The deadline for submitting proposals to receive a research grant in 2015 is June 15, 2015.

Because the cause of rosacea is unknown, a high priority in awarding grants is given to studies relating to its pathogenesis, progression, mechanism of action, cell biology and potential genetic factors. Proposals relating to epidemiology, predisposition, quality of life and relationships with environmental and lifestyle factors may also be considered. Members of the NRS medical advisory board include Dr. Mark Dahl, professor emeritus of dermatology at Mayo Clinic-Scottsdale and former American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) president; Dr. Hilary Baldwin, associate professor of dermatology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center; Dr. Lynn Drake, Harvard Medical School and former AAD president; Dr. Richard Gallo, chief, division of dermatology, University of California-San Diego; Dr. Richard Granstein, chairman of dermatology, Cornell University; Dr. Julie Harper, clinical associate professor of dermatology, University of Alabama-Birmingham; Dr. Sewon Kang, chairman of dermatology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Dr. Alexa Boer Kimball, director, Clinical Unit for Research Trials in Skin, Harvard Medical School; Dr. Mark Mannis, chairman of ophthalmology, University of California-Davis; Dr. Frank Powell, director, University College of Dublin Charles Institute, and former president of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology; and Dr. Martin Steinhoff, chairman of dermatology and director, University College of Dublin Charles Institute.
 

About the National Rosacea Society

The National Rosacea Society (NRS) is the world's largest organization dedicated to improving the lives of the many millions of Americans who suffer from this widespread but poorly understood disorder. Its mission is to raise awareness of rosacea, provide public health information on the disorder and support medical research that may lead to improvements in its management, prevention and potential cure.

Comprehensive information and materials on rosacea are available on the NRS website at www.rosacea.org. The NRS may also be followed on FacebookTwitter or Pinterest for up-to-date information and tips on rosacea. Further information may be obtained by writing the National Rosacea Society, 196 James Street, Barrington, Illinois 60010; via email at rosaceas@aol.com; or by calling its toll-free number at 1-888-NO-BLUSH.

 

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Publication Date: 
Thursday, January 22, 2015

Press contacts:
Mary Erhard, Emma Terhaar
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